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Virginia releases draft proposal to achieve universal broadband access with $1.48 billion in federally allocated funds – Comments due by September 19

The Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) has released the BEAD Initial Proposal Volume 2 for a public comment window that will close on September 19, 2023. Volume 2 of the BEAD Initial Proposal, as required under the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment Program’s Notice of Funding Opportunity and supplemental guidance (BEAD), includes critical components to effectively implement BEAD funding, including the application process, scoring criteria, and federal requirements for recipients of BEAD funds.

The BEAD program is a $42.45 billion nationwide program to expand high-speed internet access by funding planning, infrastructure deployment and adoption programs. DHCD is administering the Commonwealth’s $1.48 billion BEAD allocation to build upon the work of the Virginia Telecommunication Initiative (VATI) to reach the remaining unserved regions of the Commonwealth. Once funding for universal broadband access is delivered, DHCD will focus on leveraging these investments through promoting affordability and improving adoption of service.

The proposed scoring criteria for subgrantee applications include a significant role for county governments in determining which internet service provider (ISP) projects are funded, and are weighted as follows:

  • Cost Efficiency of Capital Outlay – 45%
  • Affordability – 20%
  • Fair Labor Practices – 10%
  • ISP Consultation with Local or Tribal Government – 10%
  • ISP Letter of Support from Local or Tribal Government – 10%

Upon receipt and consideration of comments to this document, the Commonwealth of Virginia will submit Volume 2 for consideration to the National Telecommunications and Information Association (NTIA), the administrators of BEAD.

For more information on DHCD’s administration of the BEAD program, including the BEAD 5-year plan, click here.

Comments to Volume 2 of the BEAD Initial Proposal should be submitted via email to by 11:59PM September 19, 2023, for review and consideration.

VACo Contact: Joe Lerch, AICP

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